You don’t need a vending machine to light the world around you.
Last December, Temple Square was packed with visitors. That part wasn’t unusual. After all, millions of people visit Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, each year. They came for the lights, the carols, the nativities commemorating the Savior’s birth set up all around the grounds—and for the vending machines.
Yep. You read that right. Vending machines.
But these were not stocked with your ordinary stuff. They contained things like baby wipes, first aid kits, water, food, eyeglasses, and even chickens and goats for people in need around the world. And people lined up for hours to buy them—but not for themselves.
The “purchase” of these items was actually a donation to various charitable organizations that provide support to those who need it. In less than a month, these vending machines generated more than half a million dollars in donations.
The generosity of Temple Square’s visitors went a long way. But you don’t have to visit Temple Square or wait for a vending machine to appear in order to help others in need. There are many things you can do to help light the world, light the community, light your family, or light your faith that don’t require you to spend a penny.
What can you do? Check out some of these ideas:
4 Areas Where You Can Light the World
Inside Your Front Door
Moms or dads tend to always have another chore waiting for you when you least want to do one. What if you surprised them by doing a chore without being asked and without expecting a reward from them in return? Prepare a meal for your family. Wash some clothes. Clean the bathroom. Help a sibling with his or her homework. There are always service opportunities at home.
Over the Fence
Neighbors come in all sorts of varieties: old or young, kind or grouchy. Some don’t speak the same language you do. Others don’t share your beliefs. The Savior served grouchy people who didn’t share His beliefs too! He also fed those who were hungry, so maybe you could serve in a shelter or soup kitchen. He mourned with family members of sick relatives, so maybe you could volunteer at a hospital. He invited little children to come to Him, so maybe you could help out with an after-school program.
Around the World
The humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is called LDS Charities. This organization sponsors relief and development projects in 189 countries. Last year they worked with more than 40 partner organizations. At ldscharities.org, you can learn about different projects the Church sponsors and find ways to donate to or otherwise support these efforts.
On the Other Side of the Veil
Serve others on the other side of the veil by doing family history work, attending the temple, and preserving memories by talking with those who knew family members who have already passed away. You can get started on these activities by visiting FamilySearch.org or by downloading the FamilySearch Memories and FamilySearch Tree apps.
What have you done to help light the world? Send your stories and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we may share it with other youth who are looking for great ideas.